Friday, December 26, 2014

The Open Thread Wants to Know What's the New Kale

Posted By on Fri, Dec 26, 2014 at 8:51 AM

Consider the Kohlrabi
  • Consider the kohlrabi.
It was pretty clear from menus that 2014 was the year of cauliflower as it took a starring role on many menus, though not completely dethroning the superfood kale. Kale — because it is so versatile and so plentiful — is still a menu staple at many Nashville restaurants (as is cauliflower). But what should we expect to see pop up as the new “it” ingredient in 2015? Food trends experts suggest a number of vegetables, including several variations on kale.

Among the nominations for “the new kale” for the upcoming year are: beet greens; kelp; lollipop kale (a kale/brussels sprouts hybrid also known as kalettes); kohlrabi (and other “ugly” root vegetables); two broccoli hybrids, broccolini (broccoli crossed with Chinese broccoli) and broccoflower (broccoli and cauliflower); and rainbow carrots (now engineered to contain additional nutrients).

A quick look at current menus from Nashville’s trendiest restaurants indicates chefs here are mostly going their own way, though. Along with kale and cauliflower still being widely available around town, beets and kohlrabi are gaining some ground as well as sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes) and rutabagas. I've seen all of these items at the farmers markets as well as parsnips and various radishes and winter squashes, which you'll see on menus here for at least the next few months.

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Paulette Licitra Announces Winter Cooking Class Schedule

Posted By on Fri, Dec 26, 2014 at 7:47 AM

Paulette Licitra
  • Paulette Licitra
It's been a while since we've written about Paulette Licitra and the series of entertaining and informative cooking classes she holds in her Bellevue home kitchen, which she refers to as Cucina Nashville. Her classes are $60 apiece and include hands-on instruction that ends with a full meal for the students to enjoy together.

She likes to organize the classes and recipes thematically, so check out her current listing below after the jump:

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Sweet Spot: Askinosie's Malted Milky Dark Chocolate Bar

Posted By on Tue, Dec 23, 2014 at 1:24 PM

The Sweet Spot is a weekly Bites feature where sugar addict Megan Seling reviews some of the best, worst and weirdest sweet treats sold here in Nashville. It appears Tuesdays.

What it is: Askinosie Chocolate's Malted Milky Dark Chocolate bar

Where I found it: Barista Parlour Golden Sound, $9

What it tastes like: I love malt. I love it. I love malted milkshakes and malted buttercream and malted hot chocolate and I was really hoping this malted milky dark chocolate bar (a collaboration between Jeni's Ice Cream and Askinosie Chocolate) was going to knock me on my ass with malt. But it did not.

The bar is still delicious, though! The malt flavor barely exists, but malt's presence still plays a vital role, as this is the creamiest piece of dark chocolate I have ever eaten. Seriously. It melts like a thick ganache in your mouth, and I think only the most die-hard chocolate fans will be able to eat a piece without immediately reaching for a glass of water. It coats your tongue — it gets between every single tastebud and sticks there. It's so decadent that I wish there was also a milk chocolate version for wimps like me.

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Waxman and Levitan to Open Bajo Sexto Restaurant in Country Music Hall of Fame

Posted By on Tue, Dec 23, 2014 at 12:42 PM

Jonathan Waxman
  • Jonathan Waxman
Jonathan Waxman, the nationally known chef who opened Adele's in the Gulch earlier this year, plans to open a second restaurant in Nashville.

Waxman and his business partner Ken Levitan today announced a joint venture with the Country Music Hall of Fame to open Bajo Sexto inside the Country Music Hall of Fame downtown.

Bajo Sexto will be a "casual taco joint," the release said. It added:

Spanish for "sixth bass," a bajo sexto is the largest guitar used in a Mariachi band, and is a playful riff on the partners' backgrounds and restaurant's location (chef Waxman was a professional trombone player and Levitan is founder of award-winning Vector Management).

Under the direction of chef Waxman, Bajo Sexto will offer a limited menu, including tacos and flautas, hand-made tortillas, wine on tap, beer and margaritas.

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Nashville Brew Bus Temporarily Becoming Asheville Brew Bus

Posted By on Tue, Dec 23, 2014 at 7:26 AM

As hot as the Nashville craft brewing scene has become, we still can't hold a candle to the beer boom of our neighbors to the east in Asheville, N.C. With over 40 craft breweries producing some world-class beer, Asheville is definitely the mecca of the Southern beer universe. So Matt Leff and Johnny Shields of Rhizome Productions and the Nashville Brew Bus are putting together a major field trip to show Nashvillians the wonders of Asheville.

The tour will leave from Gray Line headquarters at 2416 Music Valley Drive at 11:45 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 30, and return to town on Sunday, Feb. 1 at 4 p.m. In between, a busload of tipplers will enjoy a two-night hotel stay in private rooms with king-sized beds, a catered dinner Friday night, tours and tastings at Pisgah Brewing, Sierra Nevada Brewing and Wicked Weed's Funkatorium. They've also left plenty of free time in the weekend's schedule for individual exploration of the many breweries and taprooms in downtown Asheville.

The bus holds 55 people, and there's a bathroom on board for comfort. Only a few seats remain, and you'll probably need to bring at least one friend because most of the single tickets are already gone. Besides who wants to drink alone anyway?

It goes without saying that this is a 21+ outing, but I'll say it anyway. If you want to grab up one of the remaining seats, head over to the event website ASAP. Depending on how many people you want to split a room with, tickets range from $220 to $350, but that seems like a fair price for this much fun.

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Monday, December 22, 2014

What'd You Eat? Mariah Carey's Juice, French Onion Soup and the Best Chips Ever

Posted By on Mon, Dec 22, 2014 at 12:39 PM

All I want for Christmas is juice.
  • All I want for Christmas is juice.
Megan Seling: "I drank Mariah Carey's Butterfly juice. It was almost 1 a.m., I was exhausted from running last-minute Christmas errands all day, we were at Walgreens because I had 800 packages to send out but ran out of boxes, and it was there, and I was thirsty and it tasted like pineapple bubblegum. I'd like to say I will never buy it again, but I feel like that'd be lying."

Stephen Trageser: "I stayed really, really busy this weekend, but a grilled cheese with cheddar on some decent-thickness sourdough bread was all I needed. Can’t beat it. I also had some povitica from Strawberry Hill. The Eastern European treat looks like a regular loaf of bread on the outside, but it weighs about four pounds. Is it made of super-dense star dust? No, but it is basically half a dozen nut rolls wrapped up together. Slice it like bread and you get a handful of flaky little mini-buns with delicious gooey filling — cream, apple-cinnamon jelly, and so on."

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French Landing Brewing Co. to Land on Church Street

Posted By on Mon, Dec 22, 2014 at 7:30 AM

Over at our sister pub Nashville Post, newshound William Williams (Billy Bills to his friends — not really) has the news that French Landing Brewing Co. has officially pulled the building permits to start construction of their new brewery, taproom and restaurant space at 1612 Church St.. That's the extremely beige building that is located next to Midtown Wine and Spirits.

According to the the building permit, the investment group behind French Landing intends to extensively remodel the 4,900-square-foot building, including reskinning the exterior, constructing a new almost 3,000-square-foot expansion for future use and adding a second floor to the existing building to create room for the brewery, restaurant, storage and a possible residence. It's worth noting that the estimated construction cost for this work is $200,000. I definitely want to meet their contractor!.

Whether all this work comes in at the budgeted amount or not, French Landing has a dedicated group of investors led by Dan Gokal, the head of the family trust that is the current owner of the parcel of land. The brewery intends to produce at least five beers that will always be available, and hopefully some seasonal specials as well.

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Anthem Nightclub to Close Feb. 8; Owners Plan to Fill Space With New Restaurant

Posted By on Fri, Dec 19, 2014 at 8:18 PM

DJ Hodors Rave of Thrones last week at Anthem.
Anthem, the lavish nightclub in the Gulch just north of Broadway, will close Feb. 8 after two years in business, says Moni Advani, who owns the club and music venue with London Parfitt. Instead, their company — which recently opened chef Maneet Chauhan's hot new restaurant, Chauhan Ale & Masala House — plans to redo the cavernous Anthem space with a mind toward restaurant projects instead of music and revelry.

"We're currently looking at doing another restaurant concept there, if not two" Advani says, adding that he expects Chef Chauhan to be involved the restaurant planning in some way.

What he says we should NOT expect is another club or music venue: "We think that's not the best use of the real estate."

"We took the wrong route," Advani says of Anthem, which was styled as an upscale nightclub reminiscent of Miami or Las Vegas. "We were too formal, taking ourselves too seriously."

One new project the team is working on is a pizza restaurant, which the company will create with Stephanie Macca, daughter of Joey Macca, founder of the venerable Joey's House of Pizza. It could possibly take part of the Anthem space, or be located in a different site.

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Miranda Whitcomb Pontes to Sell Burger Up Shares, Focus on Dino's

Posted By on Fri, Dec 19, 2014 at 2:25 PM

Much ado has been made over recent news that longtime East Side burger joint/bar/venue Dino's will soon be taken over by familiar local restaurateur Miranda Whitcomb Pontes. Pontes, who co-owns Burger Up and is a consultant at Josephine and Prima, told the Scene all about her plans for Dino's back in October. Well, news comes our way today that Pontes is selling her shares of Burger Up in order to focus efforts on Dino's and other projects.

Pontes informed her staff at a meeting at 9:45 this morning in advance of contacting media or even her PR company. "I'm helping Alex Wendkos, my former Burger Up employee and my 50/50 partner in Dino's, get into the restaurant world," Whitcomb Pontes told the Scene by email.

When contacted by Bites, Ross Powells — general manager of Burger Up in Cool Springs — said that he was unaware of any attempt by his ownership group to purchase Pontes' shares.

Additional reporting for this post was done by Abby White and Steve Cavendish.

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Weekly Open Thread: VIA (Very Important Appliance) Edition

Posted By on Fri, Dec 19, 2014 at 9:14 AM

People have loved their toasters for years
  • Livejournal Vintage_Ads
  • People have loved their toasters for years!
I am still in the midst — sadly, solidly in the middle and not the end — of my home renovation project that started three months ago. We’re now living in the house, which is…not great, but the house is inhabitable, since we have a working bathroom and kitchen. The kitchen was the key to moving in; I mean, how can one survive without a kitchen?

Now that I have a working kitchen, though, I’ve realized that other than the refrigerator, my beloved toaster oven (a Breville that was a post-wedding, pre-baby splurge) has been used more than any of the other appliances. In fact, I turned on my brand-new oven (the first new oven I’ve ever owned) for the first time this week (just to discover that I apparently need to calibrate the oven temperature).

So, I’ve realized now that I can survive with just a refrigerator and my trusty toaster oven, which is a Very Important Appliance (other people agree). I probably eat more toast than the average person, but I also use it for smaller roasting jobs (broccoli and carrots for two) as well as reheating a lot of leftovers. The key to saving French fries is to re-heat in a toaster oven instead of the microwave. And when I was a turkey eater, I found that dabbing it with a bit of broth, gravy or water and putting it in the toaster oven was a far superior method of reheating it than the microwave.

So, Bites readers, I’m curious to know which appliance you can’t live without (aside from the refrigerator) and why. And what else is new this week? What’s on the menu for Christmas dinner? Or Hanukkah or Solstice or Thursday Dinner; whichever you celebrate …

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